Netherlands passes law making everyone an organ donor by default unless they opt out

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  • Dutch senators have approved a new law that makes everybody a potential organ donor unless they decide to opt out of the system
  • The new system narrowly passed a vote in the upper house of the Dutch parliament Tuesday

The Dutch parliament finally approved Tuesday a law providing for the registration of all citizens over 18 as organ donors, unless they explicitly signify their refusal.

In a close vote – 38 votes in favor, 36 against – senators approved the bill, which was introduced by a member of the Social Democrats Party 66 (D66) whose aim is to increase the number of organ donors in the country with 17 million people.

“The bill has been accepted,” Senate President Ankie Broekers-Knol told the upper house of parliament.

Qualified Dutch citizens will receive two e-mails in the future asking them to indicate whether or not they accept to be potential donors. If they have not reacted after the second mail, they will automatically be placed on the donor list.

Currently, more than 40 per cent of citizens are registered on the country’s donor list – including those who explicitly said they did not want their organs donated after their deaths, the NOS public newscaster said.

With the new legislation “there will therefore be more organ donors. During the first half of 2016, some 57 people died waiting for a new organ,” the NOS reported. “Hopefully that number will decline under the new system,” it said.